In reference to industry, Section 1 does not include banking, insurance or agriculture. It is quite possible that the development of a particular industry could arise from agriculture, such as for instance the development of the tomato industry or many other industries—canning industries or industries of one kind or another. While, strictly speaking, you might get around the matter by saying that they were agricultural, at the same time it would be a pity, if this authority to have an active function, that because of the definition here it should not include banking, and that they may not be able to proceed with the development of industry developed on agriculture.
Industrial Development Authority Bill, 1949—Committee and Final Stages.
With regard to agriculture, the Bill states that agriculture is not to be included, but there are very many subsidiary industries in agriculture which are connected as much with industry as with agriculture. For instance, the question of drying plants throughout the country, wheat silos for the storing of grain. They are agricultural and solely used for the purpose of agriculturists. In that case, there was a paragraph in the report of the Lavery Commission where it was shown that grain was grown in Drogheda, dried in Dublin, stored in Athy and brought back to Dublin to be milled. Many of those cases are as much in the interests of the farmers and of agriculturists as they are of industry. They are mixed up with both. I do not know where agriculture comes in or industry goes out or where industry comes in and agriculture goes out. I would like to have the Minister explain that position.
It appears clear enough to me that agriculture here means the production of food in one form or another, whereas its processing would be an industry. I would say that tomato growing is agriculture and that the canning of the tomatoes afterwards would be an industry and that would, naturally, come within the provisions of this authority. I think the distinction appears to be clear enough.
If I recollect aright, when this Bill was discussed in the Dáil there was a feeling that it was undesirable to try to define the word industry. Finally, we came to the position where agriculture was specifically excluded. It seems to me that if you confine the authority to a specific group of operations called industry you then must try to define what is industry or you are going to get into a very considerable mess. I feel that the position is not clear. If this authority is to carry out investigations into a possible enterprise, whether that enterprise can be described as industrial or agricultural is something which it is very difficult to decide. Let us take the specific example of something that is in the wind at the moment. It has been suggested that there is a possibility of making nylon stockings out of seaweed. Is that agriculture? Is it fishing? Is it industry?
It is industry.
The leader of the House says it is industry. Let me put another example. At various times, the suggestion has been made that we should indulge in the production of nitrogenous manures fixed from the nitrogen of the air and recently a question was asked in the Dáil as to how far investigations into this matter had gone. We were told that this authority was investigating the subject. In this case, it evidently is investigating something of prime importance to agriculture. Whether this fixation of nitrogen is for another purpose, such as the blowing up of opponents, I do not know, but presumably it is for agricultural purposes. I think we are in for an immense amount of difficulty if we try either to define industry or to curtail in any way the ambit of operations of this authority. Which we are to do, I do not know, but I say that it leaves the position somewhat unclear.
Might I suggest to the Seanad that we could have quite an interesting and lengthy session if we were to devote our time to putting posers as to whether the chicken or the egg came first and as to where production ceases and industry begins? A pretty reasonable picture of the answer has been given by Senator O'Connell that, so far as agricultural production is concerned, say, in the case of the tomato, that is production and is in the field of agriculture and that, when it comes to canning the product, it passes over into the field of industry. This particular line of discussion started in the Dáil and it was the Opposition which suggested to the Government in the Dáil that it would be better and simpler, by word in the Bill, to exclude agriculture and to clarify the position by the exclusion. That exclusion is now in the Bill, and, in the administrative sense, there really is no difficulty in deciding whether a particular thing is appropriate to the agricultural field or to the industrial field. This is a rather important Bill. The hands of the clock are moving and the days on the calendar are passing by and I suggest that we get on to the more important matters.
I move amendment No. 1:—
In paragaph (iii), after the words "new industries" in line 33, to add the words "with special reference to the Gaeltacht areas".
The purpose of the amendment is to direct the attention and activities of this authority to the problem in relation to the development of the Gaeltacht areas. On the last occasion, we had many Senators urging the decentralisation of industry. There are no areas in the country which call out so much for assistance in the way of the development of industry as the congested or Gaeltacht areas and the acceptance of this amendment will be an urge to the authority to direct its attention to these districts.
I should like to see the attention of this body being directed towards the development of industries which are native to these areas. We all know that, in Galway, Mayo, Donegal, Kerry and other Gaeltacht districts there are a number of industries which are native to these localities and this authority should not overlook the development of cottage industries and what can be done in this respect in each district. It should see to it that, where these industries have fallen away, they will be revived and encouraged to a greater degree. The reason I asked a question on the first section was that I was interested in an industry which at one time appeared to be something worth while in the Gaeltacht districts, the tomato industry. Certain progress was made in that industry and I would be safe in saying that, in so far as the scheme was carried out and assistance given for the erection of glass-houses and so on, it was a great success. We have knowledge at our disposal which makes us aware of the fact that this great problem of the Gaeltacht areas cannot be solved by land division or migration schemes. We have all now come to recognise that the land is not there for solving the problem, and we have also come to recognise that there is no future for these districts except what has always been there—in recent times, it has become even more acute —a future based on unemployment and emigration. If we are to maintain our people in these districts, we must set about establishing industries.
Some Senators on the last occasion went so far as to say that persons interested in establishing industries should be given a direction by the Government as to where a particular industry should be established. I do not think that is possible. I have sufficient common-sense to recognise that, where a number of people come together for the purpose of putting their money into industry, they will choose the place which will benefit them most, the place where they will get the labour and the power they require and, in particular, the transport facilities for the goods they manufacture. When we rule compulsion out of the picture, then we must turn our attention to some other method and the method I would recommend is to hold out certain inducements to those people. Some concessions should be given by way of relief from taxation of one kind or another, with regard to overcoming transport difficulties or by making available essential power. It can be done in more ways than one and any one way, I hold, would not solve the problem. The problem exists and unless the Government of the day, no matter what Government it may be, faces its responsibility and provides our people in those districts with work there is no use in talking about doing anything substantial to relieve emigration. When we look at the figures— whether they are provided in answer to Dáil questions or not—we find that emigration is, naturally enough, largest from the places with the greatest population and consequently the greatest difficulties in living.
Some progress has already been made in the establishment of industries in these districts. Those that have been given a fair chance have proven their worth. Already to-day and during the past week references have been made to the possibility of manufacturing nylon from seaweed. That is nothing new. Seaweed was exported from Galway and the Connemara district all during the war. It was manufactured into fabric used by the British Air Force as parachute cloth. I do not know whether it would be very suitable for ladies' stockings or not, but the time may come when it will be. That is nothing new, and neither is there anything extraordinary in the idea that cardboard can be made in the same way. A certain amount of that work has already been done in Galway. In that connection, it would only be fair to pay a tribute to Dr. Dillon, who has been engaged on that work for a number of years in collaboration with the Industrial Research Council.
Bord na Móna has a research section which has done very valuable work, and that is all very fine, but having completed the research, having found out that you can make this or that article from seaweed, turf or some other raw material which is to be found in the Gaeltacht, there is little use in talking unless you take steps to set up industries to manufacture these articles and give employment to our people. In Mayo, as we all know, there is—you could not term it an industry—something that could be developed, namely, the growing of strawberries. All these things may seem to be very small, but we cannot hope to establish big manufacturing works in either of these counties and we can hope to establish small units which will give some hope to our young people and induce them to stay in this country. It would, therefore, be well worth while for the House to accept this amendment if it were to do nothing else but to encourage the authority to direct its attention to the very urgent problem which exists in the Gaeltacht areas at the present time.
It is not because I find myself in disagreement with the principle enunciated by Senator Hawkins that I feel I should oppose this amendment but because I think that if the amendment were embodied in the Bill it would not do justice to our objectives. I want to see industries in the Gaeltacht but there are other parts of the country in which I would also like to see them, and where there is a greater need, a greater demand, than there is anywhere that might to-day be classified as a Gaeltacht area. I addressed myself to that problem on the Second Reading of the Bill.
Senator Hawkins has spoken of something which he regards as important to the Gaeltacht areas, namely, the grants for tomato-growing. I do not think there was anything wrong about that policy at all, but I do think, however, that tomato growing will give an income only to a limited number of people. I know a certain amount about this myself and the growing of tomatoes is not just a simple operation in which everybody can engage. There are certain scientific and technical problems which confront tomato growers, and people who undertake capital expenditure for the purpose of producing tomatoes should know what they are about. At best it will give employment to a limited number of people.
I do not think it is necessary to insert this amendment in the Bill. I would hope that it would be possible for the Industrial Development Authority to discover what should be done in the Gaeltacht and so to advise the Government, but I would also hope that it would be the policy of the Government to tell the authority to look to the possibility of developing more industries in these regions in the future.
There may be certain raw materials in these areas which may be exploited by industrialists in the future. Senator Hawkins has commented on what was said recently by the Minister for Agriculture, I take it, regarding the manufacture of nylon from seaweed. I gathered that he said that there was nothing new about that, that we were exporting seaweed to Britain and elsewhere in the past and that they were producing some material—whether it would be classed as a textile or not I do not know. Why were you not taking some steps to see that we did that at home? That is what should have been done. If Dr. Tom Dillon made these discoveries—and we know what very valuable research work he has done over a period of years—we should have attempted something in that line, but we have done nothing so far. If we have raw materials, it would be right that they should be exploited here in Ireland by Irish people.
Senator Hawkins has stated—and I agree with him—that we have only a limited amount of soil, with the result that we cannot find employment for all our people on the land. The amount of land available for distribution is limited, but in no part of Ireland are there greater potentialities of an increase in production than on the land of Connacht. I know what I am talking about; I know Connacht; I know what it is like; I have studied the yields. I am not going into a discussion on agriculture, but we have recently seen reports of a very much discussed paper which was read at the Statistical Society by a teacher from Roscommon.
If the land of Connacht were exploited, as it might be, there would then be the possibility of raw materials being made available by Connacht farmers for processing within that area— raw materials which are not available to-day. You have your beet factory at Tuam. That is an industry which has the possibility of increased employment, yet look at the difficulty there is in keeping that factory going. That is the sort of thing into which more effort can be put. The people of Connacht will have to awaken. It is very difficult for an industry to progress satisfactorily if the people are not conscious of the necessity for having it and, having found it, they must realise that it must be encouraged. You have there the possibility of providing the raw materials for a factory which is at present in existence, a factory that gives considerable employment, and that is a real national asset—yet look how difficult it is for the people of Connacht to keep it going.
I do not think there is any necessity to embody this amendment in the Bill, as Senator Hawkins desires. It would seem to put certain areas at a disadvantage. There are areas which are not classified as Gaeltacht areas. There are people available, in large and fairly dense areas of population who require employment. Though they are the sort of places where industries ought to be developed now, there is the possibility that they are going to fall between the upper and the nether end of the millstone—Connacht at one end and the complete eastern area at the other end. There is the grave danger that the in-between regions will not get any encouragement at all.
Undoubtedly, those prospectors who are going into the more remote areas may be placed at some disadvantage. I think it cannot be denied that they would require encouragement to go to the more remote areas and to develop an industry there when the raw materials for that industry would have to be imported. Government policy will have to be operated in such a way as to encourage these people, and to put them at no disadvantage as against people in the larger centres of population. The people in the remote areas will have to contend with many problems such as, for instance, the problem of transport. The people in the more dense areas of population, and who are in competition with them, will not experience these problems to the same extent.
If the emphasis from the people of the country is on the creation of new industries in remote areas where the people live—and if that be sufficiently emphasised on every possible occasion —no matter what Government may be in office they will have to take notice of it. It will only be meeting the national policy if the people who come, not from the cities and the immediate surroundings, but from the more distant places, make their voices heard through every Party in the country, whether it be a Government Party or otherwise. The urban dwellers have all the advantages where industry is concerned. That was the position in the remote past, and it has been the the position even since our State has been set up. We want a new type of development. Those of us who do not come from Dublin or the east side of Ireland, or from the larger ports in the south, will have to make our voices heard in this regard. We will have to form an alliance—whether it be a holy alliance or an unholy alliance—to achieve our ends.
I am with Senator Hawkins in the desire which he expresses in his amendment, but I would ask him not to press it because I do not want to see an amendment inserted in this sub-section which would put areas such as my own area and other areas around me at a disadvantage. We shall have to work together if we are to achieve our aim.
I suggest to Senator Hawkins that, having expressed his particular interest in the Gaeltacht, he should agree with me that a specific amendment in the terms set out here would be entirely unnecessary and would, in fact, only result in establishing a kind of set of legislative priorities that could, and certainly might, interfere very seriously with important national work which it is the desire of every one of us to get on with speedily.
Suffice it to say that I think there is ample evidence down through the years and at the present moment that, in the efforts of successive Governments to develop the secondary industries, full attention must be paid, in a darkening world, (1) to establishing those industries from the native products that are to be found within this country and (2) to preventing, through the establishment of industries, the drain that is brought about through emigration. The particular areas the Senator referred to are areas from which the drain of emigration is greatest and most serious. The attention of the authority has been specially directed towards those particular areas. Every Government effort will be made to keep the attention of the authorities directed towards areas—not necessarily within the Gaeltacht but areas whether within or without the Gaeltacht—from which emigration is serious and where an industry might be of benefit generally. But, in addition to that, as Senator Baxter has said, where an industry is established for the benefit of such an area, not only the Government and the Industrial Development Authority but the people of the area must take an interest in supporting and maintaining that industry.
There was a lot of argument with regard to the establishment of a beet sugar factory in County Galway. The argument for the establishment of the industry there was the amount of emigration from Galway. Yet that particular industry is the one, of the whole group of sugar beet industries, in respect of which the people in the hinterland have rallied least to the support of the industry given to them. If further industries are to be developed in and for the Gaeltacht, the people within the Gaeltacht will have to support those industries. You have a hat factory, among others, in Galway. I venture to say that as big a percentage of ladies in the city of Galway wear foreign hats as in the city of Dublin. Let the authority help: let the Government help: let Senators and Deputies help—but let the people in the area also help themselves.
I respectfully suggest to the Senator, that, having heard his views and the views of the Seanad on the desirability of the establishment of industries within the Gaeltacht and for the Gaeltacht and smaller areas, he should not press his amendment.
I am very pleased with the assurance the Minister has given me that everything possible will be done in relation to the provision of industries for the areas I have in mind. I appreciate that embodying the amendment would probably have the effect of restricting the activities of the authority somewhat.
I would like also to join with the Minister in expressing the point of view that it is up to all sections of the community to support an industry when it is established. I do not at this stage wish to go into all the difficulties confronting the particular industry that has been referred to in Galway, namely, the Tuam beet factory. Unhappily, it did not get a good start. This is not the place, I suppose, in which to enter into a discussion on the matter but I am afraid there was a little too much politics in the atmosphere at the particular time. I would like also to add to the Minister's advice in regard to interest in the industries, that the workers of the particular industries should have some regard for their responsibilities because it might not be out of place to mention that in the particular industry concerned a strike in the early stages did very much to bring about the position in which that industry finds itself to-day. As a result of that strike the beet was left on the farmers' hands in one of the worst winters that has come and these people had not the necessary amount of labour to deal with that beet when the strike was settled. They then decided that they were not again going to be caught in a position when they would have to suffer heavy losses just because of labour disputes. I would therefore join with the Minister in his appeal to all sections to support the industries started in their midst and in particular in his appeal to the workers to have regard for the interests of the other sections involved when they proceed with any demands. In the circumstances I will withdraw the amendment.
Amendment No. 2 is out of order.
I move amendment No. 3:—
To delete paragraphs (vi) and (vii), lines 39 to 42, in page 2, and lines 1 to 7 in page 3.
The purpose of this amendment is to relieve the authority of the obligations placed on it by this sub-section. As I said on the Second Reading, if this authority is going to set out to accomplish the things which we wish and the things which the Minister put before us I think they should not be asked to carry out the examinations which are set out in the sub-section. I think the Parliamentary Secretary when speaking in the Dáil gave the figures in regard to the applications for licences and quotas which were made to the various sections of the Department of Industry and Commerce from time to time and if we consider these and regard them from the point of view of the import and export orders which come before us here we can appreciate that there are quite a number of such orders placed before the particular Department of Industry and Commerce. With all these applications for protection, quotas, import licences applications under the Control of Manufactures Act this authority which the Minister is now creating if it had to deal with these matters would have very little chance of doing the principal work for which it is being set up.
I do not wish to anticipate other legislation but in the course of a few days we are going to have another Bill before us setting up another organisation which will be engaged inquiring into these matters and in that regard doing much the same work as this. That is the organisation which will be set up to inquire into prices and in the course of its investigations will have to investigate these other things in dealing with the question of prices. It seems that in this matter we are passing on from the Department of Industry and Commerce a function to this authority which will then have to consider all these matters, to make the recommendations and then pass them on to the Minister who will go into the whole question and make up his mind as to what is to be done.
I submit that if this body is to deal with the industrial aspect it will have quite sufficient to do without having the added responsibility of making these other investigations which can be carried on by the Department of Industry and Commerce. I would not go so far as to say that it should not bear these things in mind when examining proposals for industry, whether that new industry would require protection or not, but I do not think it should have these additional tasks imposed upon it.
This amendment could not possibly be accepted. The view of the Government in regard to this Bill is that these two sub-sections are, as it were, a functional necessity within the scope of the authority we are establishing and cannot possibly be divorced from the responsibilities that are being placed on that body without interfering very seriously with the efficiency of the machine as a whole. Senator Hawkins has given very full play to his imagination and has drawn up a number of imaginative bogey-men, and then he has become frightened of them and is endeavouring to frighten other members of the Seanad. He has painted a rather exaggerated picture of this authority being glutted with the works of scrutinising prices, reviewing old tariffs, examining applications for new tariffs, and so on, and he has painted a rather terrifying picture of what all that work involves. When we were dealing with this particular Bill on the Second Stage I think the contention of Senator Hawkins and others was more or less along the lines as to why the Bill was brought before us, when, in fact, the authority had been working away for 18 months. So it had, but it was working away for 18 months without being strangled by all this review of tariffs and prices.
Not only does the Senator resurrect bogeys from the past but he calls before the minds of the Seanad the terrors of legislation which has not yet come before the Seanad and he points out that there will be tremendous confusion between the work that is proposed to be done by this body and the prices commission which will be established under another Bill. It may be that those remarks will be more relevant to the other Bill; but I think the Senator will meet me on this point, that if any authority or body or group of people is to examine the possibilities of any new proposed industry, they will have to examine it in all its aspects. They will have to know what the potential market is, what tariffs or protection that particular article will get as against rival manufacturers within or without the country. They will have to know what price for the finished article would be approved and agreed on, if they are to put their money into the industry and start producing those goods. If the Senator will agree with me so far, he will agree that all these matters are strictly relevant to and must be attached to the authority that is to deal with and advise on the establishment of new industries. You cannot have an authority here inducing people with money to sink their money in an industry and another authority later on saying: "We will not give you any of those facilities or protection or anything else," or another authority later on fixing a price for the goods that in the opinion of the investor would be unprofitable.
I want to impress on the House that these two sub-sections which it is proposed to delete are an essential part of the powers which must be given to the authority; and if you divorce those powers from the authority they could not do business. They could not do business with the Senator on behalf of the Gaeltacht, whether it be sugar beet or tomatoes. They could not do business with any business man in connection with any article which he proposed to manufacture here. They could not do business even with people here at home; but we hope to attract foreign capital to aid in the industrial revival here.
Let us say that a group of financiers from abroad came across here and they were met by the Industrial Development Authority and were told: "We can help you up to a certain point, we can advise you, but we cannot give you any information regarding the price of your goods or the measure of protection you will get by way of tariff; we have brought you as far as we can; go further, then, and deal with the Department of Industry and Commerce with regard to prices and tariffs." Any of those people would say: "The world is too big for that kind of thing; there are other places we can go with our money; life is too short for that kind of finicky business; we will go and do business elsewhere."
On consideration, I believe that the Senator will withdraw that particular amendment. It would merely delay the work, while the whole idea behind this Bill is to speed up the work of industrial revival as far as this Government can do it. This Bill would not be before the Seanad but for the fact that we are dissatisfied with the speed of the machine at the present moment.
I regard the Minister's speech as the most important speech we have heard for many a long day, and I hope that it will get as widespread publicity as the speech of the Tánaiste last week. I am in wholehearted agreement with what the Minister said and join in his appeal for the withdrawal of the amendment. The Minister has indicated fully what must be left with this authority if it is to function at all; but he has also stressed even more fully that speculative industry will not come here unless it knows the conditions under which it is going to come; and the Tánaiste's speech of last week has definitely thrown a spanner into the works as far as would-be investors are concerned. If we are threatened with a new prices commission, we will have ample time to discuss its powers and composition later. It is only fair to the Minister, on this Bill, to say that this particular authority has certain powers vested in it. We know those powers are being carried out now, but where people are considering big projects, even now, none of them will come to fruition—and I say this with a full sense of responsibility—unless we can accept without any reservation the words of the speech just made by the Minister, in explaining why the powers are necessary.
If the work of this authority is going to be interfered with by any new authority, call it what you like, that will not have the background they have already got to deal with these matters, then speculative industry here will come to a stop. I will say more on this when the projected new prices commission comes up for discussion. For the moment, I wish to compliment the Minister on his speech and I hope the Press will report it as fully as they did the attack on industry generally by the Tánaiste last week.
I welcome much of what the Minister said, but at the same time he suggested that I was allowing my imagination to run away with me. It would be a very keen competition as to which imagination ran farthest, as I consider that the Minister allowed his imagination to run very far. I made it quite clear in my opening remarks that I recognised the necessity for the authority to have the powers given in this sub-section in relation to the establishment of new industries, but if the development of new industries is to be their prime function I failed to see—and still fail to see—why at least 95 per cent. of their time must be taken up in inquiring into matters and carrying out duties in connection with industries that exist already. The Minister also made a very interesting remark and I think it is one on which we should have some little clarification. Some time ago the Minister for Industry and Commerce also made the same statement and that statement was in connection with the invitation for the investment of foreign capital in Irish industry. As the Senators are quite aware, there is already on the Statute Book of this Parliament the Control of Manufactures Act, which provides for the amount of capital that can be invested by any outsiders in Irish industry. There is no use in saying the authority wants to have those powers. The authority has no powers whatsoever to do anything except to do the work under the Act as it is there to be administered. No matter what inducement may be held out, if there is not some licence or some concession made, then, under the provisions in the Bill, they can act only in accordance with the Control of Manufactures Act.
It seems to me that this particular section is very well drafted and is all of one piece. If we accepted the amendment, we would be doing a very serious injury to the scheme of the Bill and contributing a great deal towards thwarting this Industrial Development Authority and keeping them from doing their job. I am speaking as a person who from his childhood was interested in Irish manufacture. I remember in the old days going into shops looking for something of Irish manufacture which we knew was not to be got. We did that simply to persecute the shopkeeper and I do not know whether it had any effect, but we were firm believers in its efficacy at that particular time.
We had very considerable tariffs in the first ten years of this State. More than half of the imports were tariffed, but a great many thought that this process was too slow; that the Tariff Commission was going too slowly. We have had further developments and without passing any adverse comment on either people who have been in for ten years or 16 years in office, we are now in a certain position after both these efforts. Bona fide efforts were made. It seems to me that this section embodies appropriate steps for the position in which we now find ourselves This body should have the business not only of examining applications for new tariffs and expansion of old ones such as it gets in paragraph (iv)—
"to advise the Minister on steps necessary for the expansion and modernisation of existing industries."
Surely paragraph (vi) is a necessary corollary to that. Surely, the idea is to say: "Here are people who are competent, impartial and independent giving their independent opinion and here is the opinion." Thus, instead of a man making a vague criticism you are able to put him up against a definite verdict by people in possession of all the facts. I think Senator Hawkins is quite mistaken in thinking that this would not do good. I think it would do good. Somebody must do it. Industry cannot progress in this country unless it carries the public with it. The public must believe in it. If you get public opinion set against the idea of Irish manufacture and against the idea of tariffs that is a very bad day's work for the Irish manufacturer and somebody must do this work and investigation. You cannot simply pursue a policy of helter-skelter imposition of tariffs for the future. Somebody must do the work of examining proposals for new industries or the giving of protection.
I do not think the Department of Industry and Commerce has done it or has any machinery for doing it. I think this is a piece of machinery for doing it and it would be a very bad thing to keep it from doing it. It seems to me to be all of one piece.
I think we had another exercise of Senator Hawkins' imagination when he said that 90 per cent. of their time would be taken up with paragraphs (vi), (vii) and (viii). That, of course, is the kind of an argument people make when they are making an amusing remark.
How do you know?
Why would I not know? It is common sense. Why would the Minister, for example, keep them 90 per cent. on investigation and 10 per cent. on new proposals? There is no evidence at all of that. I have often opposed proposals here in the House but one thing you have to admit is this—when people get this kind of machinery into their hands they always endeavour to make it work no matter who they are. From the point of view of the whole House who are interested in having Irish industry and giving it every support and carrying with us public opinion behind us, then, I think, we should recognise this authority is going to do a job of work. It is all of one piece and if we take out some part of sub-section (3) we will have done a bad job. I think, therefore, the authority should get a chance. The other matter referred to by Senator Hawkins can be dealt with when we come to it, but for the moment this authority should get a chance of functioning in the best possible way. It gets that chance when it functions as described in Section 3. Later on, there will be an opportunity of seeing how it works and then it will be time enough to discuss that. For the moment, we should regard the matter as one to be done and let it all be done together.
If Senator Hawkins has done nothing else he has got a statement from the Minister with which Senator Summerfield largely agreed and the curious speech which we have heard from Senator Hayes. Senator Hayes claimed to know what the authority had been doing and would do. That is a preposterous claim. Maybe he does know. The only way they can claim to know what the authority has been doing is by learning from the authority itself and I am certain the authority has not informed Senator Hayes.
Absolutely certain; that is true.
I do not want to elaborate that any further. I want to say this—in connection with the Minister's statement that they were inviting in foreign capital to develop industries here—that as a person associated with industry in this country and I can make the proud boast at the moment that of the industries with which I am associated, not one of them enjoys preferential treatment by way of tariff, quota or other favour from the State, I would not agree to an abandonment of the principle enshrined in the Control of Manufactures Act passed here some 14 or 15 years ago.
The Minister did not say we were inviting in outside capital. The Control of Manufactures Act makes provision that 51 per cent. of the capital must be Irish. The other 49 per cent. can be made up wherever you can get it, and, if you cannot get it here, is it not well to get it abroad?
I took a note of the words used by the Minister because they were significant—"inviting foreign capital". I know the details of the Control of Manufactures Act. I know that not less than 51 per cent. must be held by qualified persons and that the majority of the directors, excluding a whole-time managing director, must be Irish nationals. I further know that the voting rights must be predominantly held by qualified persons, but that is a very different matter from making the statement about "inviting foreign capital" without adverting to what the position is at the moment. The Minister is aware that there is provision in the Control of Manufactures Act for the issuing, in special circumstances, of a manufacturing licence. That power which the Government has under that Act to give a manufacturing licence was exercised very rarely in the past and I hope it will be exercised as rarely in the future.
I should like to see industry developed in the rural areas, in the areas mentioned by Senator Hawkins and Senator Baxter, in the main, by Irish brains and Irish money, with control of these industries remaining in Irish hands. It may be necessary, because of our slowness in developing in certain technical aspects, to pay a price for technical advice from outside, but it would be a bad day for us, and in fact it would not be worth it, if industry were established here which would be built up with control in the hands of people whose home and heart are not in this country.
Nobody said so far, or gave it to be understood, that there was any intention whatever of having new industries here, the greater bulk of the capital of which would have to come from outside. From what the Minister said and from what Senator Summerfield obviously has in mind, it is clear that what is contemplated is a situation in which we are going to create new industries the technique of which is not understood by Irish nationals and in respect of which we shall have to draw on foreign knowledge and experience, foreign technical training and skill, for their creation. If the people coming to us with experience and technical training have some money to invest in their ideas as well, it is proof to our own citizens that here is something around which they can rally. It is easy enough to conceive a situation in which a foreigner comes in and tells of his wonderful plan which has proved to work in his own country but which is not backed by any money at all. The best test of the value of this new idea of the stranger is to see the stranger ready to put down his own money. I take it that there is no notion whatever of any change with regard to the control of Irish industry. I am sure we are all at one in this whole matter, and I am only saying this because I think Senator Hearne's speech might appear as a misinterpretation of the whole situation as it exists, and certainly a misinterpretation with regard to Government policy for the future.
I feel that the deletion of this sub-section would very much interfere with the good which this Bill is bound to accomplish. We all know that protective measures have raised certain questions in the minds of people and that many people say that unscrupulous industrialists have availed of the tariffs they get to foist inferior articles on the market and to keep out articles of foreign manufacture which are cheaper and of far better quality. I am not saying there is anything in that, but that has been said from time to time, and I hold that an authority which has power to investigate any charges of that type would be of great benefit to the development of Irish industry. We have also heard it said that unscrupulous industrialists have employed cheap labour, have paid wages not in accordance with trade union levels. In rural areas where there may be an industry like that, the employees may not be members of a trade union and it would be necessary that people interested in their welfare should have some authority to which they could refer the conditions under which these people worked. I think this is one of the most valuable sub-sections in the Bill and its deletion would seriously impair the good which the Bill will accomplish when passed.
I had a certain sympathy with Senator Hawkins in what was at the back of his mind, that is, that the members of this authority should be doing what really amounts to a creative job and he did not want to see them submerged under details of investigation. That is a matter for the organisation—gradually and within a period and as time goes on—but, as one who comes from Northern Ireland, if I came in here with my little bit of capital—I do not know whether Senator Hearne would rule that it was Irish capital or not—I would not feel very happy if I went to an authority and they appeared to me to be acting as a kind of office boys and if they had to say to me: "When it comes to that, we must pass you on to somebody else." That would make a very unfortunate impression. These sections do look as if they are a substantial part of the Bill and I hope that nothing will be done to impair the structure as a whole.
I join in the appeal to Senator Hawkins to withdraw the amendment, because I regard these two sections as very necessary. We have an authority now set up not alone with power to investigate what the effects of future tariffs and quotas might be but to inquire, if they desire, into the effect of existing tariffs and quotas. I think it desirable that we should have a body of experts—for, after all, they are experts and not civil servants—who can examine that question not from the conventional standpoint of a civil servant but from all points of view, as representing the workers, the consumers and the manufacturers. If we had not got some such organisation as the Industrial Development Authority empowered to investigate the effects of these quotas and tariffs, it is quite conceivable that industries would start in this country, even with 51 per cent. Irish capital, which would comply with no proper trade union laws at all. They might come in and try to start an industry without considering what the hours of work or rates of wages should be, and it would be well to have an authority to investigate the question and tell such people: "If you come here a certain standard of wages and conditions will be required for the employees and a certain guarantee of the product will be required for the consumers". Certainly from the point of view both of the consumer and of the wage-earner it would be desirable that the authority should be empowered to investigate these things and not leave it to some civil servant to advise the Minister to withdraw some tariff or to give or withdraw some quota. It is not desirable that the Minister should act merely on the advice of a civil servant who, however well-intentioned he may be, will not have the same information at his disposal, the same broad outlook or the same contact with the public as this body would have.
I agree entirely with a lot of what Senators have said of the necessity for the authority to have powers in connection with industries about to be established, but I still hold that it is not a good thing that they should have powers regarding industries already established. However, as the general feeling of the House seems to be that they should have these powers, I have no intention of pressing the amendment.
Before we pass from the section I should like to ask the Minister one question. Before the authority makes a recommendation to the Minister about the establishment of a new industry, the improvement of an existing one, the giving of protection or anything else, must the recommendation have the unanimous approval of all the members or will a bare majority suffice or will it be a recommendation of one member who is assigned to a particular part of the authority's work such as the investigation of tariff applications?
There is no particular arrangement that recommendations must have unanimous support of the body; neither is there any regular assignment of responsibility as between individuals. Where there is a majority and a minority view on a question, however, as with a number of other bodies, the majority recommendations are put up stating the reasons for them and the minority recommendations are also put up fairly stating the reasons for disagreement with the majority.
The amendment I put down has been ruled out of order, but I should like to say a word about the section itself. There are several matters in the section to which I referred in the Second Reading debate, and if my amendment had not been ruled out of order there are certain points which I should have made. I am not allowed to make them now, but perhaps I might make them on the section in a slightly different way.
The first sub-section of the section reads:—
"The period of office of a member shall be fixed by the Minister when appointing him and shall not exceed five years."
In view of the circumstances of the debate on this Bill in the other House I am not in favour of the section passing in that form. It was definitely stated by spokesmen of the Opposition Party that in the event of a change of Government, the Industrial Development Authority would be abolished and I cannot help feeling that some security of tenure should be given to the members of the authority. The amendment which I proposed has been excluded from the debate on a technical ground but that does not prevent me from saying that I think it is very unfair to expose gentlemen of the standing of the three members of the Industrial Development Authority to the possibility of being deprived of their livelihood simply because there is a change in the Government of the country as a result of political forces and circumstances quite outside their control, for which they have no responsibility and for which they are in no way to blame. I cannot help feeling that this is a matter of general interest, not one concerning mereely the gentlemen involved.
As I said on the Second Reading the Government of this country will not get the services of the type of people it wishes to get for this sort of work if they are to be subject to dismissal every time there is a change of Government caused by some—I might almost say—adventitious political state of affairs for which they are in no way to blame.
Before the section passes I would ask the Minister to consider whether he could not give us some assurance that some type of security of tenure would be afforded to these gentlemen who have come to the assistance of the Government and who have, as I happen to know, given up well-paid appointments in other directions in order to make this experiment a success. If these gentlemen were not willing to come and give their services the Industrial Development Authority might find itself very impotent and very sterile. I do think it is only fair that when people assist in an experiment of this kind they should not be exposed to too much personal risk.
While I have the greatest sympathy for what Senator Professor O'Brien has said, I do not think that there is any cause for uneasiness. As I understand the position, these people are appointed for a period of five years. That is a definite term of appointment and they have no claim to be appointed for a further period. They have a definite contract for five years so if, for any reason, their services are dispensed with before that period has elapsed, I take it they have the right to have their contract enforced. I would like an explanation from the Minister. That is my interpretation and if that is the position I do not think that the Senator's amendment would help in any way.
I think that Senator O'Connell has put the position exactly. Under the Bill, these people are appointed for a period not longer than five years. Aside from the Bill, a contract is drawn up and the ordinary laws of contract apply. If the contract is broken, compensation is assessed not by a political body, but by the courts outside. I may have grown a bit thick-skinned and hardened but I am doubtful of statements made by people in the Opposition. I have been listening to them for the best part of a quarter of a century and I am not so panicked by statements which are made in the heat of the debate about what people will do if they change their position around the strip of carpet in the Dáil. I think there is a certain amount of responsibility in the people who are opposed to us in Dáil Éireann, and that if they changed their position and became a Government to-morrow they would not suddenly lose all sense of justice. People should not be panicked by that particular statement which was made by a Deputy or carried away to such an extent as to pass special legislation. If, however, you were to pass special legislation to give a degree of fixity of tenure to anyone about whom such a statement had been made it would be a very simple matter to get other Deputies to make similar statements, and everyone appointed to a Government board would have life tenure or compensation.
It could always be changed by legislation.
On the section I should like to say that I had a certain sympathy with the last part of Senator O'Brien's speech which I heard, that people who because of their special qualifications are invited to become whole-time members of Government-sponsored concerns should have some fairly secure tenure of office for a period. Arguments may be advanced as to what that period should be. Five years, in this case—for a very important body like the Industrial Development Authority—is, in my opinion, too short. I agree that I might not find general agreement on that, but it is my opinion. It is quite true that, at the end of the five years, none of these men who were appointed by warrant has any right to a further period of office. The Minister referred to a statement made by a Deputy in the Dáil that, in the event of a change of Government, of which he would be a Minister, the authority would be abolished. I venture so far as to say that even if there were a change of Government in the morning, the sense of responsibility of all the Parties who form the Oireachtas would not, I think, stand for the introduction of legislation that would deprive these men of whatever financial emoluments they would get if the authority were not abolished. That safeguards their particular financials position.
I think that now, at any rate, we should have reached the stage in this country where what is commonly called political victimisation should cease. Despite the Minister's assurance, I might be very much perturbed by what took place, as an example, only a comparatively short time ago. In a Government-sponsored and Government-controlled concern, a director, whose term of office had ceased but who had been a director of the company in question for 14 years, was proposed by his fellow directors for re-election. Because the controlling votes in that industry were held by the Minister for Finance, that man, on a vote, was relieved of his office. There was no question of compensation. Tributes were paid to that man for the excellent work he had done for the particular company during his 14 years as a director. Obviously, there was no justification for that action beyond this, that, because the Minister for Finance had changed, it might be deemed to be a change of shareholders.
I am not saying that the Minister for Finance was not perfectly within his legal rights in doing what he did. However, in view of the fact that tributes were paid, even by the representative of the Minister for Finance who attended that day with his proxies, there was no justification for the removal of that man. I may say that that happened as recently as July of this year. I do not think it will be repeated.
Did the Senator ever hear of its happening before?
Very often before. I would point out that I opened my statement by saying that I hoped we had reached the stage in this country now when it should stop.
Who started it?
Well now, if we are going to have any more of this——
We are not going to have any more of it.
The provisions here satisfy me as a person who is anxious to do justice to people who a were invited there. I am not taking responsibility for the appointment of these men. That is a Government responsibility. If there was any doubt about the position these men were in it was due entirely to the fact that they were appointed 18 months before we saw this Bill, on which the Opposition could express its views as they were expressed in the other House. I can only repeat that it is essential that members of boards similar to this—boards appointed by a Government—should have a reasonably secure tenure of office. Otherwise, people who might possible do very good work for the country would not accept invitations to become members.
I desire to make a few comments and to ask a few questions on the section. Sub-section (7) states that a member shall devote to his duties the whole of his time or so much of his time as the Minister may from time to time direct. That provision seems to be based on whole-time occupation. If we pass this section as it stands, we give the Minister power to direct the time that a member or members shall give to the particular work in question. I do not wish to enter into personalities in any way except to draw the attention of the Minister to the matter and to ask for some explanation. One of the members of the authority is also a member of another State-sponsored organisation. To which of the organisations is that member to give his whole time?
Provisions is made in this Bill for compensation or retirement pay when the member reaches the age of 65. How is it going to be determined? No matter how much of their time they devote to the service of this authority, I understand they will get the same remuneration—"as the Minister may from time to time direct."
The chairman of this body, also, is a chairman of another board. Sub-section (12) reads:—
"Where a member has any financial interest directly or indirectly in any industrial undertaking ..."
I wonder if we could take it that the chairman of the Credit Corporation, as such, has an interest in many industrial undertakings and whether it would enter into this question or not.
Sub-section (9) reads as follows:—
"(a) Where a member of the authority becomes a member of either House of the Oireachtas, he shall, upon his becoming entitled, under the Standing Orders of that House, to sit therein, cease to be a member of the authority.
(b) A person who is for the time being entitled under the Standing Orders of either House of the Oireachtas to sit therein, shall be disqualified from being a member of the authority."
On every occasion on which a Bill of this nature came before us we have had a discussion on the debarring, to any extent, of persons seeking representation in this or in the other House. As this section is at present drafted, and, taking sub-section (9) in conjunction with sub-section (7), we have a very peculiar situation. The members of this authority are excluded from being members of this House. We have set down that the members of the authority must give the whole of their time to the authority or at least such part of it as the Minister may direct. I consider that they are still free to be a candidate at any election, and seek membership of either House, retaining, until such a time as they take their seats in either House if they are successful in their candidature, membership of the authority. I hold that that would be their position until they actually took their seats, in conformity with the rules of the House to which they are elected. In any discussions on this particular subject we should have consideration as to how far we should go in debarring a person from seeking public representation. I have pointed out on a previous occasion that while the Electricity Supply Board is a vocational body, certain vocational organisations have a right to select persons of this House and at least one type of person who can seek election to the House is a member of the Electricity Supply Board. We cannot get that rectified in this section. What I want to draw the attention of the House to is that here is an organisation set up by the State going to be in close contact with the workers of the industry and the various members of public authorities and organisations; that may make representations of one kind or another to people interested in the development of industry, and we are making the position so loose here that while we expect them to give whole time to the work of this authority, they can, at the same time, go forward for election in public life. If the result is not in their favour they can still remain members of the authority, but if it is in their favour they can then decide whether they will take their seat or continue membership of the authority. I do not think that that is the best way of dealing with the matter.
Several Senators have referred to the intended amendment of Senator O'Brien, making provision for compensation for these people. I think we have dealt generously with these people. A contract has been entered into for a term of five years. I know that at the end of that term the Government or the Minister in charge of the Department of Industry and Commerce may or may not reappoint that particular board. I think it would be very unwise for this House to suggest that any other provision should be made. It is the right of the Minister when the term of office is up to change the membership of these boards if he thinks well. It probably is not a good thing to do. We have seen it happen in another board, the tourist board, where I believe it was a question of one of these things being done in a rash rush and that repentance came too late. There you had a man who devoted the greater part of his life to the development of the tourist industry in this country removed for no other reason but that he could not see eye to eye with the Minister. The Minister, when the term of the office ended, appointed a new board and did not make the best choice in the appointment. However, I hold that in such cases the Minister in office is the person to decide whether he should continue an appointment or appoint a fresh board.
I am sorry that I was not present for the greater part of Senator Hearne's speech, but I found myself substantially in agreement with the greater part of what I heard of it. I think the whole question of what class of State employees should be allowed to stand for Parliament, in this House or the Dáil, should be carefully examined and I would like to see the Government set up a committee to go into this whole thing without regard to any particular Bill, or any particular person. We have this matter coming up again and again. Allied to that is the question of certain types of civil servants who are virtually industrial workers, such as Post Office workers, and there is also the question of Electricity Supply Board workers. The position of these people would be well worth examination absolutely divorced from any particular Bill.
This House is always extremely careful in a course of discussions not to say anything which might be taken or understood to be an attack on any outside person. It has always been very careful particularly not to say anything which might be considered a reflection on an individual who is unable to answer for himself. The reason why I would in this case have supported Senator O'Brien's amendment is that I do see circumstances in this case which are rather new. In this case you have taken some young men and given them positions of considerable responsibility and have provided that they cannot be members of Parliament.
I think where a man is expected to give his whole time to employment and when a particular board or office is abolished there should be some measure of compensation in such cases, but I do not mean in that respect that there should be a compensation for a lifetime. It should be merely something to provide a reasonable time in which that person can look around for a livelihood on similar lines to that in which he had been previously engaged. In that regard I have no fancy figures in my mind, but simply a sum in compensation which would allow him sufficient to carry on until such time as he has found himself a suitable position. In private business when an employee is asked to take over a new department if that department has eventually to be abolished compensation is provided for the employee to enable him to look for another post. Senator Hawkins has pointed out that the members of this board are appointed for a period of five years and were aware on appointment of their term of office. I think that is quite fair. They knew at the time of the appointment what the term of office would be. They had to take that risk but now there is the additional risk that the Government of the day might decide to abolish the office; in such a case I would like to see provision made for compensation because these people would be the victims of a change of policy. I think that could have been reasonably provided for in the contract and I am not sure that there is not power to make that provision under the Bill.
I would like to see a Government committee or commission set up to inquire into the whole question of the extent to which persons employed by the State whether civil servants or not can seek election to local authorities or to the Dáil and Seanad and to see if possible whether agreement could be reached on these matters. It is not very simple. There was an attempt in England by the Masterman Committee, but I am not satisfied that they succeeded and their report seems too vague. Here it should be simpler and there might be some measure of agreement between us if this were dealt with on non-party lines by a commission.
In regard to sub-section (11), I wonder whether the warrant of appointment included the spirit of this section in regard to secrecy. I think it ought to be there formally. It is a very important thing in a warrant, that the recipients of office should make a formal declaration of secrecy. I know that if anyone fails he comes under sub-section (3), but it is so important to preserve secrecy that I would suggest to the Minister that if it is not already there it should be embodied in the warrant of appointment.
I am sorry I cannot answer the Senator as to whether it is in the warrant or not, but assuming that it is, it is only so many words written in ink on a bit of paper. Those words in the warrant would not have as much force as the same words written in an Act of Parliament. If we pass the Bill before us, we are laying down by law that they must not disclose any of the information. Even if you had that in the warrant and they violated those words, all a Minister could do is to remove them from office. Under sub-section (3) of this section, power is taken to remove them, so I think the point is adequately met; but I am sorry I cannot say whether it is in the warrant or not.
I think I can come to the Minister's assistance, as this point was raised in the Dáil and was specifically answered. For Senator Mrs. Concannon's information, it is well that it should be placed on record. The Parliamentary Secretary in the Dáil, as given in column 914, Volume 123, No. 6, of the Official Debates, said:—
"I should say, in this connection,"
—that is, in connection with undertakings not to disclose any information—
"that the members of this authority, on appointment, all made statutory declarations undertaking not to disclose any information."
I understand that there was no obligation on them then to do that, but they did it voluntarily, and I think it was a very commendable thing for them to do at the time when they were not statutorily bound to do it. I would like to go on record and say that they started very well, in having a serious sense of responsibility, by voluntarily making that declaration when they were not absolutely bound to make it. It is a good augury for their work in the future and I think that when the public, and particularly those interested in developing new industries, are aware of that fact there will be an end to a lot of the rather loose talk about the possibility of private affairs of firms being noised abroad, and the public will have no fear of any such thing happening.
I would never have spoken at all on this point but for the fact that so many people here are concerned that the Industrial Development Authority should never, under any circumstances, divulge any information they get. I wonder what goes on in business—I am an innocent child in these matters—and if there is so much dirty work being done that it must not be disclosed.
That is a disgraceful suggestion. It lowers the whole tone of the debate.
Then I am a low person at times. Surely there is no terrible mystery or secrecy about it. I will lower the debate still further, by mentioning that even employers have to disclose other people's business, the employees' salaries and so on, to the Revenue Commissioners to enable them to collect the income-tax. If I look for an old age pension I have to disclose my resources. The Revenue Commissioners will want to know about my business. What is the mystery about someone else's business? If I form one of a group of people with £250,000 in capital, everything is hush-hush, but if I am a poor person looking for a pension I must disclose how many half-crowns I have in the Post Office and whether I have a couple of hens. I cannot see why there is all the hush-hush for the rich man and none for the poor. If there were the same regulations for rich and poor, I would agree. I do not suppose that any dirty work goes on, but people who suggest there must be secrecy and mystery give cause for the suggestions that something goes on which should not go on.
If this authority, in the course of its investigations, discovered that somebody was doing something wrong, even in the case of some big business or some prosperous firm, if they were engaged in some illegal business or defrauding the revenue or black-marketing; and if the revenue authorities got word from somebody else about it, these people could not even be summoned by the Revenue Commissioners to give evidence about what they had discovered and how the State was being defrauded. Their mouths would be closed by this section. I am not saying that any particular man is doing anything wrong, but I object to people saying one must not talk about big businessmen's business.
The point raised by Senator O'Farrell should not be left there. I might safely assure him that big businesses can afford to deal with it themselves. People who cannot affored to have their business disclosed, through dealings with the Government, are the smaller businesses. If I went to the Revenue Commissioners and asked them to tell me the income of Senator O'Farrell, which he must disclose, to them, they would point blank refuse and they would be perfectly right to do so. There is a tradition in relation to income-tax disclosure which I believe is scrupulously observed and I am satisfied that, if the Minister for Finance went to the Revenue Commissioners and asked them for that information about Senator O'Farrell, the Minister would be refused point blank also and the law would justify it and the Minister would be quite helpless and could not dismiss the official or take any action.
Good faith in dealing with a Government Department is absolutely essential. It is well known that while you maintain the principle of private property and competition, some firms are very much cleverer than their competitors. They may discover better methods of distribution or of manufacture. They may discover certain secrets which they think will work well and it is not their duty to disclose them immediately. If, however, they are asked to go to the Industrial Development Authority to discuss it with them and if they feel that the authority is free to divulge those secrets to competitors, they will not go to the authority and everyone would say they were perfectly justified. As far as Senator O'Farrell's suggestion is concerned about the possibility of the authority coming across something illegal and not being able to disclose it, I would ask him to read the Bill. He will find that they can disclose it, in a report to the Minister, and I have not the slightest doubt that that is what they would do and do pretty quickly— and they would be perfectly correct in doing it.
I am satisfied that this is not a question of dirty work being carried on by companies. Industries, such as we want to see developed here, must have that confidence. I would not like it to go out that anyone here had a feeling that there were things that had to be hidden because they were evil. They have to be hidden because it is necessary to effective co-operation.
I am not by any means attacking big business. The remarks were drawn from me by the way this matter was approached. I do not believe there is any necessity for wish ing to keep the secrets of our industrialists, but you get the suspicaion that there is dirty work and that there is too much emphasis to aid business firms to hold their secrets. It makes the public outside wonder what is going on behind the scenes. I do not believe there is anything going on behind the scenes that ought not to be going on. Persons looking for old age pensions have to disclose their means. My secrets are divulged if I make an application for an increase, and I have to show why I want the increase. My wife may be a very shrewd housekeeper. She may have discovered the great secrets of rearing a family and maintaining it at half price. I have to divulge all my secrets. If my wife divulges them am I going to be cut in my salary? I do not see why all the fuss is about this and why if I become a member of a company everything that goes on behind closed doors is secret and sacrosanct. The small shopkeeper can be investigated, but dare you apply the same methods of investigation to the big businessman. You would not be let do it.
I would like to know where the big businessmen are. I only know one or two like Guinness's. We are sick of this aristocracy and the poor. It seems to be a crime to have £1 in your pocket, and yet we are talking about industrial development. If any man has a few pounds to invest he is going to be denounced as a capitalist. I think it is time we stopped this nonsense about big business. The man who has money to invest should be appreciated and not denounced here.
I move amendment No. 5:—
In sub-section (6), line 31, to delete the word "one" and substitute the word "two".
This is a small amendment, not of very great importance, but I think it would be an improvement in the Bill. This question can only arise in the case of a prosecution. I do not think the responsibility of a prosecution should be placed on one person alone. In the first place, I do not think it is fair. Secondly, there is a danger that it might appear it was a personal matter. I, therefore, think that, as a wise measure, there should be two instead of one.
I would like to say that I agree with the proposal in Senator Douglas's amendment and, in order not to delay the time of the House, I would like to say that I had an amendment proposed to delete the section entirely. That was on the understanding that the other amendments of mine would be accepted. If that were done there would have been no necessity for this section.
With regard to this question of administering an oath, I have an idea that the more we compel people to make a statement on oath the less regard, it seems to me, there is for that statement. We should have a little more appreciation of people's own honour and the honour of their word. Generally, when we want to get evidence of any kind we must take steps to elicit that information on a person's oath. If we had more regard and placed more confidence on the person's word of honour we would be doing much better.
On the question of this amendment, as the section stands, a summons may be signed by one member. The amendment suggests it be signed by two. It just happens that one was put in the Bill. The authority is not very strong numerically and certainly is not pulling in different directions. There is no danger of their going into a huddle and of some members doing something behind the backs of the others. The only case I make against accepting the amendment is one of delay. The Dáil, by agreement, is rising to-morrow. If this Bill is amended here to-night, it is quite on the cards that it cannot go through to-morrow, as the time-table to-morrow is packed up. That would mean that it would be the end of February or the beginning of March before the Bill would be finally dealt with. I will leave it to the Seanad to decide whether to risk that delay or not.
The Minister does not know may reputation in this House. He could not have made a less convincing case against the amendment. It is a complete challenge to me. I can only leave it to the Seanad to decide. I put down the amendment because I really thought there was more in it than met the eye. I hope there will never be any prosecutions or summonses under this. I think it would be injurious to the authority if it happened. As I was born and reared a Quaker, I agree with Senator Hawkins with regard to the uselessness of oaths. I do not believe in them at all. It would be very much better to take people at their word and treat them at all times as being obliged to tell the truth. When it comes to the possibility that a person is summoned, I think it would look bad that that summons should be signed by one member of the authority because I think it would appear that one person was summoning another. I do not accept the view that this authority is going to be abolished in a short time. I think my suggestion is really a wise one. I leave it to the House to decide whether to amend the Bill or not. I put it down as quite a serious amendment. Whether it is of sufficient importance to warrant an amendment of the Bill, I leave to the House.
When I saw the amendment, I was inclined to agree with it, and I do think the Minister's answer is sufficient to justify me in changing my mind. I think, too, that I could not possibly allow myself to be a party to Senator Douglas stultifying himself on the ground put forward by the Minister, that the Bill could not become law until next February. This body has been functioning for a great many months without the authority given to it in the Bill. Even if the Bill does not become law until February, I do not believe it will interfere in the slightest with the working of the authority until that month. If the amendment is accepted, it is the only amendment which can be discussed in the Dáil. The discussion can be confined to it and I have complete belief in the power of the Chair to confine the members to this little section, as amended, so that the discussion would take a very short time. Whether the Dáil accepts it or not, we shall be sitting next week—I think that is fairly clear—and the amendment can be disposed of then and the Bill can become law, if the Dáil does not agree with it.
Senator Douglas asked me on a previous occasion, when I was commenting, to read a particular Bill. I would ask him to read this Bill before pressing this amendment. What advantage is there in having two signing a summons rather than one, if the summons is only going to be issued where a man, on being duly summoned as a witness, makes default in attending, or, being in attendance as a witness, refuses to carry out the duty or obligations legally imposed upon him? If he commits an offence under the Act, surely one signature is as good as two. There are times when I think that two heads are better than one, but I do not see that two signatures are going to be better than one. A man can be summoned only in certain prescribed conditions and surely the chairman or any one member of this small group is sufficient to sign the summons. If two, why not four?
The sub-section says that a summons under this section shall be signed by at least one member. I should like to know whether it can be signed by less than one member.
It could be signed by two.
I have put forward the suggestion and have given my views, but I think that Senator O'Farrell again has a completely wrong concepttion. He says that if a person has committed an offence, there is to be a summons, but it merely means that the authority thinks that he has committed an offence. The man would think he had not done so, and it would be entirely for the court to decide whether the information required was information properly required. In a sense, the thing is unreal, because I cannot see the authority functioning by means of summons at all. The Government, however, think it should have the power and presumably, the authority thinks so as well as, and we must assume that some day it might be used. I do not propose to press the amendment in view of the circumstances, although I was terribly tempted to do so after the Minister spoke.
I think the normal procedure is that two or three will sign. All that is said here is that it will be valid if only one signs.
Under the prices legislation, I understand that there was never a prosecution of this kind.
Is it the intention that these officers and servants will be civil servants?
On Section 8, sub-section (3) says that the annual accounts of the authority will be submitted to the Auditor General, presumably for review. When the Minister was replying on the Second Reading of this Bill he intimated that the Industrial Development Authority would be used by the Government to investigate the workings of some of the State and semi-State companies. Some months ago we had a debate in this House on the setting up of machinery to investigate these companies, and the general consensus of opinion in the Seanad was that the most desirable type of machinery was one that would satisfy the public at large. The Minister said that the Government was considering the matter and the debate in this House was dropped, but it was only when the Minister in charge of this Bill was replying on the Second Stage that it was intimated that the machinery to satisfy this public demand for some control of and investigation into the operations of State and semi-State companies would be this authority.
Might I correct the Senatory? Either the Senator is in error or my remarks were very misleading. I have not a copy of the report before me, but what I intended to say was that the Government had under consideration proposals for the investigation of the accounts of State and semi-State organisations. I have not read the Official Report and I have not seen how it appears there.
That is what I understood the Minister to say.
Not the authority?
No. I did not read it. I am speaking from my recollection of what I meant to say.
That being so, if the auditor is merely coming in in the normal way to audit the accounts of the authority and is not to deal with State and semi-State bodies as the public investigator as this House rather suggested to be necessary I have no more to say.
I see where the error arose. The statement I made was as follows:—
"As I think has been stated more than once, the intention and desire of this Government is to bring all the State and semi-State boards and their expenditure under the machine for control, return and discussion by members of the Oireachtas."
Apparently the Senator took my reference to "the machine" as being to the authority. I meant the general machine.
I took you to mean the authority.
I move amendment No. 6:—
Before Section 9 to insert a new section as follows:—
(1) The authority shall in each year make to the Minister a report of its proceedings under this Act.
(2) The Minister shall lay before each House of the Oireachtas a copy of every report made to him by the authority under this section.
We had a wide discussion on the Second Reading on the presentation of a report of the working of this authority. As the discussion has gone on, on the Second Stage and particularly to-day we have learned of the very wide field of activity which this authority will field of activity which this authority will cover. I am glad that the Minister has assured Senator Orpen that this field has not been further extended by placing on the shoulders of the authority the responsibility to inquire into the working of State and semi-State organisations. It is not necessary, I think, at this stage to urge further upon the Minister to provide for the publication of a statement from this board. It is already done by many State and semi-State organisations. We have an annual report from the Electricity Supply Board, Bord na Móna and the Tourist Board and I think from all the other semi-State organisations. The case was made to-day by the Minister and by those who support this measure, particularly Senator Hayes, regarding the great necessity and advisability of bringing the public with us in the development of Irish industry, of putting the facts before them and of giving them the reasons for giving protection or State assistance to any industry. If this authority merely examines in their offices the proposals made to them and makes recommendations and if the Minister gives effect to those recommendations there is no way of making the public aware of the workings of the organisation and of the information that led the authority to make a particular recommendation. If it is necessary that the public should be brought with us in this new drive for the development of industry it is all the more essential that they should be given the facts. If this authority recommends that protection should be given to an industry the reasons that convinced them to do so should be made available.
I do not wish to make a lengthy statement in support of the amendment. As I have stated, every semi-State organisation is compelled by the law to present a copy of their report to this House and to the public. Without being accused of repetition I may say that this authority will be interested not alone in the development of industry and in making recommendations but also in the examination of present industries, tariff applications, the issue of licences and other day to day activities, so I would urge upon the Minister to accept this amendment. By doing so he will create a confidence on the part of people interested in the development of industry and of the public at large because they will know how the organisation is working and how it is fulfilling the charges placed upon it by this Bill.
I disagree entirely with Senator Hawkins with regard to the amendment, namely, that there should be a statutory obligation to present a report on lines similar, he says, to that which is presented by Bord na Móna or by the Electricity Supply Board. I would agree with some of his other remarks. The Minister should consider very carefully whether there are not ways in which the industrial development authority could create more national interest in its work by the publication of information with regard to work being done in developing industries. If the authority had to make a statutory report which had to state all the work being done by the Industrial Development Authority, in my opinion, you would stultify it, almost entirely.
I think Senator Hawkins will agree with me when I say that the establishment of suitable industries, properly financed, on a scale which will have a reasonable prospect of success, is not an easy matter. It requires considerable discussion, examination, and when proposals come from members of the public it would be highly undesirable if the Industrial Development Authority were obliged to report on them or be questioned because they had not included in their report on statement to the effect that they were investigating a proposals from individuals—say, Senator Hawkins and myself—for the establishment of an industry. It would be equally objectionable whether they put in it that we were highly desirable and suitable applicants or that we were quite unsuitable. To do so, while the discussions were going on and before they had made up their mind would, I imagine, cause us to withdraw. I consider that the disclosure of any matter of that kind under discussion could do a great deal of harm. A good deal of the work of the Industrial Development Authority is very much like what had to be done by the Department of Industry and Commerce and which the last Government decided could not even be examined— and I think they were right—in public by a tariff tribunal. In other words, secrecy up to a certain point is almost inevitable. Otherwise you may cause disaster through large forestalling or other steps being taken which would give the industry very little chance of success.
If, on the other hand, and it would rather look as if it may be a different body that will do it in the near future, the authority were asked to examine any question referred to it by the Minister relating to the effect of tariffs or other protective measures and to investigate the result of such measures, and so forth, I think there would be a great deal to be said for taking the public into their confidence and telling them what was the result—stating the amount of employment given by the industry and giving similar information. If there is a necessary increase in price, owing to the circumstances here, tell the public about it and do not pretend that it is not so. Give the reasons for the increased price and justify it. There has been a good deal of misunderstanding in the past.
Irish industry itself has been injured by the lack of some body or some way in which the facts, even if they are not altogether as we might like them, could be put before the public. I may be wrong, but I think that if the public were told: "Here is an Irish industry which the Government believe, after investigation, has got future prospects. We admit that at the moment it is starting on a small scale. We believe it is suitable to this country, but, for a time, its production will be smaller in comparison with those outside who produce on a large scale. Its prices may have to be higher until it reaches full scale development." I think the public would back that, if told the whole facts. But when, instead, they are told nothing, the industry is faced with the kind of whispering which we have often heard from time to time: "We all know perfectly well that the goods made by So-and-So are inferior" or that the manufacturers are "fleecing the public", and all the various whispers which, seemingly, it is nobody's business to answer in an effective and responsible way. There is a very great distinction between encouraging the Minister and the authority from time to time to see whether they can make public valuable facts which would be part of their function to develop and assist Irish industry, and to make obligatory an annual report more or less similar to that submitted by the Electricity Supply Board and Bord na Móna. Therefore, I suggest that it would be a great mistake to put an amendment of this kind in the Bill. However, the debate may do good because it may suggest to the Minister and to the authority, as they have been a year or so in operation, whether they would not be strengthened and the public and industry helped by the issue, from time to time, of reports.
In that connection, we know quite well that there are a number of industries which nobody in this country has attempted. There might be differences of opinions and a matter of difficulty, even after expert consideration, as to whether they are or they are not suitable. It would be highly undesirable if it should be known—particularly if it were put in a report to the Oireachtas —that the Irish Development Authority are examining the possibility of developing these industries. If they should ultimately decide in favour of the setting up of these industries there would be a danger of harm being done and if, on the other hand, they were to publish the fact that they had decided against a particular development, the likelihood of anybody coming forward again would be almost nil, whereas, the reasons which caused them to decide against it might by no means be permanent. For instance, with the Korean War and the present international situation, it might be highly desirable to hasten the establishment of certain industries—and equally, there are in dustries of which I would be inclined to say that this is not the time although it might be done some time in the future.
Therefore, the Senator should not, I think, press the amendment although I agree that there is something to be said for the idea that the Irish Development Authority might from time to time give publicity to their work.
When I spoke on the Second Reading of this Bill I suggested that there ought to be some sort of report from this authority. I pointed out that, apart from the limited number of people who have to have dealings with this authority—industrialists and others —the general public know nothing of their activities or of the good work being done by them. I said it was important that the public should know something of the work which the authority are doing.
The authority have been in existence for the past 18 months. I pointed out that, apart from those who are specially interested, nobody knew very much about what was going on or what they were doing. We only heard here of the valuable activities carried out by them. It never entered my mind that they would be asked to submit a report of the nature mentioned by Senator Douglas and report on all their activities. However, I think there ought to be some sort of a general report setting out the nature of the work in which they are engaged but without giving details of individual industries or applications. I do not care whether that comes as a statutory obligation on them or otherwise, but I think that something of that nature ought to be done. I do not believe that it is beyond the wit of these four highly-qualified men to frame a report which would give the public generally a general idea of the nature of the work which they are doing, and trying to do, without giving any information as to the number of industries or even any mention of a particular industry which they have as a result of their efforts set up. It would not mention any applications which they had rejected. They could give a number of the applications which came before them. That might not be a very informative report but, at the same time, it would show the public that this body was in existence, in any case, and that it was engaged in certain useful activities. As I have said, I am not very anxious as to whether or not it is embodied in this Bill. If there was some undertaking given by the Minister that such a report would be issued it would satisfy me. I have noticed lately that questions have been asked in the Dáil from time to time on this matter and have been answered on behalf of the Minister for Industry and Commerce with regard to the activities of this authority. If there is no objection to giving the information in reply to questions in the Dáil there should be no objection to giving similar information by way of an annual report submitted to the Oireachtas.
It happens from time to time that people who violently disagree with me on the things I have said earlier in the debate usually come back to my point of view. There has been much talk about secrecy with regard to the activities of this board, and it has been something of a revelation to find that everybody who had earlier spoken about the need of secrecy is now demanding that the authority should give a report.
I think I was the first to point out that I considered one of the weaknesses of this Bill was that it made no provision for a report of the work of the authority, and I argued that it was necessary that we should know something about its work. Some sort of report would be desirable if the Minister would agree to issuing it, and it might not be necessary to provide for it in the Bill if the Minister himself would give us some assurance that a general outline of the committee's work would be given in reference to each year to the Oireachtas, and would contain information likely to be of use to the general public or to people contemplating starting industries in this country.
In Section 3, sub-section (6), it is provided that one of the responsibilities or duties of the authority is to investigate the effects of protective measures with special reference to the quality and price of goods, wage levels and conditions of employment, and to report to the Minister. If investigations of that kind are held they could be very useful to the people generally and to those contemplating establishing industries. I know there is prejudice against Irish products, and the organisation of which I am in charge this year frequently receives complaints from people that articles made in Ireland are not equal to the imported product. In all such cases a full investigation is held and if there are defects the article is sent back to the manufacturer who, if they find there was a defect in manufacture, as can happen in any industry, will set the matter right.
In most of the cases the complaints were found to be unjustified and unjustifiable and I think it would be well if an inquiry was made into the effects of these tariffs and quotas and their relation to the prices charged for goods manufactured here and that these should be made known. If articles assembled in Ireland are dearer than those imported wholly assembled, and we know the reason for that, we may know that the reason is something beyond the control of the particular manufacturer. If we find an article manufactured here is slightly higher in price than the article imported ready-made and if we find that the reason is that the raw materials are dearer it would be to the advantage of the country and the public to know that.
I think the Minister should undertake to give some sort of general report on the organisation's work during the year. If he does not do that he is not doing what we understood when he introduced the Bill and said that he was not setting up a Civil Service organisation. If it is not a Civil Service organisation then there is no need for such complete hush-hush policy in which there would be no report. Without a report he is reducing the authority to the level of a Civil Service department which will make a report to the Minister which will not be transmitted to the public unless the Minister wishes to report it himself. In any report it could be left to the Minister to decide how much information would be made public, but it would be useful to those engaged in industry and to the workers to have some sort of report on the work of the authority during the course of the year giving the numbers of applications received from the various parts of the country for the starting of industries, the facilities available and the facilities for raising the necessary money. These facts might be published and might induce people who wanted to invest to investigate the possibilities of investing their money in those particular areas and it would be a help to areas which wanted money for industry to induce people to help them to start new industries. Such a report could be in the nature of a publicity organ for the starting of new industries which would be an advantage to the people and the country.
While I am not in agreement with the exact terms of the amendment, I think we should get an assurance from the Minister that an outline of the facts as acclaimed by the authority will be available for the public. If we could get that assurance, it would be to the advantage of the authority and to the advantage of the nation as a whole.
I think there is a good deal of confusion behind this amendment. I submit there is no analogy between a report on the working of a piece of machinery and a report on the negotiations that led to the establishment of that piece of machinery. Anybody with any knowledge of obtaining big orders in commerce will know that, in the course of negotiations, a stage can often be reached in which you could not report. There are arrangements to be made and sometimes something might happen which could not be disclosed in the course of negotiations. That could happen in this case, too. For instance, it could happen that negotiations were still going on and carried on the next year at a time when the report was being published, and it would not be wise to publish details of those incompleted details. I do not believe there could be any comparison between a report on the working of the Electricity Supply Board and a report on the working of this authority and, in the circumstances, I am against the amendment.
I do not know whether Senator Hawkins wants us to accept the amendment as written here or not, but if that is what is expected of the Seanad, he is asking what is administratively impossible. The amendment says:—
"(1) The authority shall in each year make to the Minister a report of its proceedings under this Act.
(2) The Minister shall lay before each House of the Oireachtas a copy of every report made to him by the authority under this section."
Obviously, whatever the Industrial Development Authority will do from one year to another, the Senator visualises a complete report being made to the Minister and then being presented to the House. I might draw the attention of the Senator to the fact that Section 4 (11) says:—
"No member shall disclose any information obtained by him in the exercise of his functions under this Act as to the private affairs of any person or business except in the course of a report of the authority to the Minister."
It is visualised that the authority will make a report to the Minister. What we have to examine is, if we agree that a report ought to be made to the public of some of the activities of this authority, in what form such a report should be made. That is where you come up against the real difficulty. You can make a report that is worse than nothing, and that is the real danger. We have heard reports in the past of the number of factories that were established: if you make a blunt statement like that, everyone goes searching for those factories, which are invisible in the highways, though they may be in the byways. That is part of the difficulty.
I agree that there is necessity for education of the public in regard to Irish industry, in regard to the complexities of establishing new industries, the difficulties that have to be overcome and a great deal that is involved in the sort of inquiry mentioned in paragraph (vii), where tariffs and quotas must be taken into account. There is to be a report to the Minister. How can you get a report to the public that will be of value in publicising Irish industry, the difficulty of creating it and its importance to the country? When you come up against that, Senator Douglas made a very reasoned case of the difficulties that have to be overcome.
I agree that there are prejudices against Irish industries. I agree, too, with the people who say there are Irish industrial projects that do not come up to the level we expected of them. That is not for the good of Irish industry. Perhaps that is something about which there should be an inquiry. We hear a great deal about industrial standards and standards of efficiency. All that must be tackled if Irish industry is to progress and become something in our society of which we are proud. We have heard the phrase "shoddy material", generally applied to something imported from another country. We should not stand for shoddy production in our own country: we should aim at a high standard and if we have any pride of race, any spirit of patriotism or nationality, we should take no excuses from people who would not make the effort the nation expects of them when they are being protected by tariffs or quotas.
Any report to the public, while it may be beneficial from the point of view of propaganda for Irish industry, will have to be considered from the point of view whether it may not be a hindrance to better development. Senator Douglas has explained from his experience what might happen if he and Senator Hawkins were presenting a proposal to the Irish Development Authority and it were under consideration. It may be a good idea, it may be something new.
It would be.
You are both good enough, and we may get to the stage of such miracles. When such a thing happens we come up against difficulties. It is to be hoped that we have not heard the last of scientific development and we may have resources here that may be tapped by people who may come on the scene and attempt something we have not attempted heretofore. There may be proposals of a kind where consideration is going on in one year and runs over into the next. What kind of report can you make to the public in that case? Must you remain silent about that? If you talk about the new proposal that is under consideration, obviously you are giving information to the public and that is not fair to the people undertaking obligations and responsibility in regard to establishing a new industry. It is when you come to that point that I am not clear how an authority like this can draft a report in such a form as to make it informative for the public, one that will comply with the terms of Senator Hawkins's new section, and, at the same time, will not scare off potential industrialists. That is where you have the conflict. I think the amendment would put the Industrial Development Authority in an impossible position. I want light on what these people are doing, but I want the light in such a form that it will be a help rather than a hindrance; and until Senator Hawkins is able to elucidate more clearly how his ideas can be made to operate under that section, I do not think he can expect us to give it our support.
Someone mentioned confusion. I think there is confusion worse confounded by some of the statements made here. I want to make it clear that this Bill envisages an autonomous body and that the Minister disappears out of the picture. Take the request made by Senator O'Farrell for an assurance from the Minister that a report would be available which would meet his requirements. The authority can tell the Minister to go and fish, in connection with the demand for such a report. The authority's functions are set out in Section 3 and the only report that is envisaged is a report to the Minister at the request of the Minister for information. Such a report would be a private one and the same as a report made by the Civil Service to the political head of the Department, not for publication. What this amendment proposes here is that each year there will be a statutory obligation on the authority to tell the people of Ireland what is being done. I have more confidence in the body as an autonomous body that they will have discretion and that they will use general terms to describe these proceedings. This amendment does not ask the authority to dot the i's and cross the t's, any more than does the report of the Electricity Supply Board dot the i's and cross the t's of their retail trade, though there is a general statement as to the position of their retail shops and their retail business. All that this amendment asks is that there should be a report available each year, and it places on them the statutory obligation. If this amendment is not carried, then I repeat that neither the Minister nor anyone else can impose the obligation on the authority to make such a report.
Senator Baxter was objective enough about it in this way. There are difficulties. I can well see, for instance, that a phrase, "a report of its proceedings under the Act", might be taken to mean a report of all its proceedings.
Again, I come back to the opening point, and this is most important. It has been stressed in the Dáil that this is different from any other State authority that has been set up. It is an autonomous body. It is a most curious creation. The heads of it are not civil servants. Their staff will be civil servants. The administration will not be subject to any of the restrictions that civil servants, as such, have to suffer. This is entirely different, as an autonomous body, and the acceptance of this amendment will ensure a report that will have some value as to what has been done. The wording of it, in my opinion, should indicate to that autonomous body what exactly would appear in the report. We are merely asking that the report shall be sent to the Minister and that the Minister will table it. If it would suit Senator Baxter better that it should be sent directly to the Houses of the Oireachtas from this autonomous body and if there is an amendment on these lines, I do not think there would be very grave exception taken to the wording of it. I repeat and emphasise that, if this amendment is not carried, then there is no obligation on the authority to make any report, good, bad or indifferent, as to its proceedings. The public, in other words, will be in the position that not only will they not be able——
Sub-section (6) of Section 4 says:—
"The members in the exercise of their duties shall be responsible to the Minister."
Responsible to the Minister? What does that mean?
The Minister must answer for it.
The Minister must see that this is an autonomous body and that will be his answer.
The last line in Section 3, paragraph (vi), says: "and report thereon to the Minister". If the Minister receives the report, I imagine the Minister can be made amenable to us. We have an opportunity to put down a motion in this House, or a Deputy can ask a question in the other House. Paragraph (vii) is also in connection with a request by the Minister and also paragraph (viii) of the same section, relating to industrial development, mentions: "referred to the authority by the Minister." I think the Minister must be kept informed of what is taking place. I presume we can get the information we require from the Minister. I think it is necessary we should have some information, but not the sort of information that might cause unrest among business people. If we had a report in some form or other, I think we would have the opportunity of getting it there. When the Minister is replying, he may allay any fears that we have in that respect.
Any Minister would sympathise with the theory of the arguments raised in connection with this amendment, but it is one thing to be attracted by a theory and it is another to try to put that theory into practice without doing harm or creating difficulties. This particular body which is under discussion is not paralleled with an organisation such as the Electricity Supply Board. The Electricity Supply Board is a body appointed to deal with things. This particular body, in the main, deals with persons, and it is one thing to make a report that the soil in such a place did not get the poles or that the hill in such a place is too high to cross with the poles. It is another thing to report that such-and-such an individual proposed to interest himself in some particular industry. He may be reported on as a doubtful kind of a character, that his financial reputation and activities elsewhere would not be such that confidence should be reposed in him. There are an immense number of reasons, which would occur to any of our minds, as to why many of the types of report that would be made or might be made to a Minister by this particular authority would be entirely unsuitable for circulation to the public. Any Minister would like, on the other hand, to provide machinery to have a discussion on the activities and the work done by this particular body.
I can see no difficulties with regard to the Dáil. Obviously, in connection with this new body, there must be a sub-head in the Estimate for the Department of Industry and Commerce. It is open to any Deputy to refer back any particular sub-head, or the whole vote on account of any particular sub-head. In other words, there are plenty of ways and means to ensure, if it is required, that there would be a full discussion annually in Dáil Éireann on the work done by this particular body. That is open to the reply that the Estimates do not come before the Seanad. I very rarely come before the Seanad myself, but I read the Seanad Order Paper whenever it comes out, and I am always impressed by the ingenuity of Senators in bringing so many things up for discussion which it would be impossible to discuss in Dáil Éireann. It appears to me that Senators are able to present anything and everything for discussion here.
There is nobody going to tell me that Senators cannot devise ways and means of having at least an annual debate on the working and progress of this particular authority, and I am certain they will have such a motion down and bring the Minister here and have a whole day, with no other distraction but just to sit down and discuss, debate and, perhaps, throw bouquets at this newly-constituted authority. I suggest to Senators that it would be far better to have it done through such a procedure as that, and, merely deputising for another Minister, I would give the Seanad the assurance that I will make the strongest representations possible, reflecting the views expressed here, that some machinery or system should be devised to have an annual discussion on this body in each House each year, but I would ask the Seanad to consider the inadvisability of trying such a matter up in the law of the land.
I want to make it clear that I never had in mind a report of the nature mentioned by the Minister in his first few remarks, a report of a personal nature of any kind or one in which the character of any individual would be in any way referred to. I do not think that anybody had that in mind for a moment. I felt that a report of the nature which the Minister indicated in his closing remarks would be quite sufficient. If we are to have a discussion in the Seanad, or if there is to be a discussion in the Dáil, a report of the nature I had in mind would be necessary to give us something to bite on, as it were, before the discussion took place.
I feel also that the wording of the amendment, as Senator Baxter pointed out, is liable to be misinterpreted or to be misleading. Apart from the fact that "a report of its proceedings" might mean all its proceedings, there is also in the second part of the amendment the phrase "a copy of every report made to him". There is no intention in anybody's mind of asking that every report made to the Minister should be published, because during the year I take it that, on every individual case examined, reports will be made from time to time to the Minister, detailed reports on specific individual questions, and it is certainly not intended that there should be any reference to these; but it should not be beyond the ingenuity of these people or of the Minister's Department to give some kind of general report on the lines indicated by the Minister.
I am to an extent satisfied with the Minister's approach to the problem we hoped to solve by putting down the amendment. I have often heard that the worst case one can make for any cause is an exaggerated case. I think that holds also for those who are arguing against a case, and Senator Douglas put forward a very exaggerated case with regard to what I intended to achieve. I never suggested, and no sane person would suggest, much less ask, that a responsible authority or Minister should give a report of such a nature as in any way to prejudice cases under discussion, a report which would mention such cases or go in detail into individual cases with regard to the development of industries which were under consideration. I think we are all agreed that it is necessary that we should have some indication of the work this authority is engaged on. The Minister has complimented us to the extent of saying that this House can always find ways and means of having a discussion, although we are deprived of the opportunity which the Dáil has of discussing the Industry and Commerce Estimates. That brings us very definitely up against the present situation, a situation in which we have a very clear statement from the Minister that the only opportunity the members of Dáil Éireann will have of discussing the activities of this authority is during the very short period when the Estimates for that Department are being discussed.
That is not a correct version of what I said.
Except probably by way of motion, and I think the Minister and the House will agree that, if a member of this or the other House puts down a motion asking for information about the activities of this authority, that motion will be regarded by some people as a vote of censure on that body. I think that would be a wrong approach. The Minister has suggested that, by putting down a motion, we can get all the information we want, but would it not be better to give us something to go on? Would it not be better that we should have in our possession some indication of the type of work this authority was engaged on, if we are to have a discussion of its activities?
The whole thing hinges around the question of protection to a greater degree than around the formation of new industries. We had on the last occasion a matter in which I and other Senators were interested. An Order was brought before the House, which the Leader of the House moved. He gave us the information that the Order had been made on the recommendation of the Industrial Development Authority. That Order affected a particular industry in Galway, and I asked for information as to the effect it might have on employment or unemployment. We were not able at that time to get the information, but I submit that, if this authority gave us its annual report, covering that particular field of its activity where applications for protective tariffs are made and granted and setting out the reasons, we would be getting very valuable information that would be of great assistance to the public who have to pay the costs of this authority.
The Minister says that this is something different from the Tourist Board and the Electricity Supply Board, and I grant that, but the activities of this organisation, if it functions as I see it functioning, will have more relation to the lives of our people than any of the other boards because its decisions will affect their day-to-day lives in more ways than one. That being so, I should like to assure the Minister and this authority that the farthest thing from my mind was the handicapping of this authority in any way by asking for the presentation of this report or insisting on giving us any information which would have the effect of hindering the development of industry. The wording of this section which I ask the Minister to accept is the same as that incorporated in Bills in relation to other boards, and what we ask for is an annual report—not the confidential reports which will be made to the Minister from time to time by the authority—drafted in the way the authority considers the best way in which to present it to the public. That is not too much to ask.
I think that Senator Hawkins has made an excellent case for his amendment and, with all respect to those who spoke on the other side of the House, I think that their arguments were very weak. Possibly several speakers on the other side think it their duty to make some sort of argument against an amendment moved by Senator Hawkins. I have a lot of sympathy, however, with the case made by Senator Douglas. It would be very disadvantageous if statements were made in any report such as that suggested by Senator Hawkins, pointing out what is being done with industries which are, so to speak, "in the machine". I think that nobody would expect a statement to be made by the authority in its annual report to the effect that somebody had come over here and found —or thought they found—oil in some part of the country as somebody suggested it had been found in Tipperary not long ago. If such a statement were made and the facts were given there would be a rush of people trying to jump the claim of the people already working there, and nobody expects anything of that kind.
Senator Baxter said that while he does not approve of the amendment and we should not insist on getting an annual report we should, however, get some light on the workings of the authority. I feel the same. Nobody wants to hamper the authority. I was not in the first instance in favour of setting up this authority—I make no bones about it—but I realise that we have no power to prevent its being set up and, if it is set up, we should give it every assistance to work as efficiently as it is possible to have the work done.
It has been pointed out that according to some sections of the Bill the Minister may request the authority to give him a report on certain matters. One would think that that was an extraordinary thing for the Minister to have. Surely we have not arrived at the stage when the Minister will set up an organisation and turn it loose like a rudderless ship on the pathless ocean. Anybody with any common sense at all must realise that there should be some type of control and that the Minister should have some power over this or any other authority set up by the Government. The authority, however, is not bound to send any report to the Minister, and I will go a little further and say that in fairness to the authority itself this amendment should be accepted and that the authority should send its annual report to the Minister. As I have said nobody expects them to disclose any information which might be injurious to an industry in formation, but the fact that they sent in an annual report would mean that the people would have confidence—at least more confidence—in the working of the authority. If no report comes from the authority such as that which comes from the Electricity Supply Board and various other bodies, we all know, human nature being what it is, that people would ask themselves: "What sort of hush-hush organisation is this which sends in no report? Do they meet at all? Do they do anything?
We are not so much interested in the information from the point of view of individual members of the Oireachtas—I think that is what Senator Hawkins has in mind—but we do think that the information should be available to the public on request in the form of a report. Suppose a motion is moved this day 12 months or a week later nobody in his common senses would expect a full comprehensive report from the authority. The amendment should be accepted and I appeal to the Minister to do so in the interests of the authority and of the better working of the authority in the future.
The amendment could not possibly be accepted in its present form. It was agreed on all sides that there must naturally be deletion and subtractions from any report. The very minute you get a report from a body or organisation that must be made up—if I may put it in a paradoxical way—more of deletions than of material then it is an entirely unreal and unconvincing report. On the other hand, no matter how autonomous—and I think that is an unfortunate word—the body may be, it is responsible to the Minister and must report to him on every matter it investigates. They exist to advise him and where they initiate they do so only for the purpose of making a submission to the Minister. Where they do not initiate, where matters are referred to them, then they must make a specific report to the Minister. In other words the person answerable is the Minister who is an officer of the Oireachtas. I did not say that he could only be made answerable once a year; what I did point out was that in Dáil Éireann there is once a year an occasion when it is very simple to make him answer. The debates in Dáil Éireann are not unfortunately confined to one day. The Estimates debates very frequently go on for many weary weeks and a discussion on this particular body could go on for days.
I would again urge the Seanad not to press this amendment, not to compel this body by law to furnish an annual report. The early years of a body such as this are the important years and organisations or Departments which are compelled to make an annual report are engaged on that report for three months of the year. If they told the truth they would report on nine months' work and three months on the report itself. Take it that full consideration will be given to the views expressed by Senators and an attempt will be made to give an opportunity, at least once a year, to have this matter under review.
I listened most attentiely to all the speeches made on this amendment but, so far, nobody has intimated what they would require in the report. The second part of the amendment reads:—
"The Minister shall lay before each House of the Oireachtas a copy of every report made to him by the authority under this section."
Any of us who read the daily Press must be struck, particularly in the last couple of years, by the number of persons describing themselves as "company directors". These fly-by-nights come over to this country and, as the Press again will reveal, they gather some shekels here and get back to Britain in the course of a year or two. The police authorities are very actively engaged trying to bring these people to heel. Let us assume for a moment for the sake of argument that this report should give every detail of persons who apply for licences with a view to establishing industry here. Suppose that a person called A.B., who is a very shady character, applies for a licence and gives an undertaking that he will be able to finance it. Inquiries having been made, it is found that this shady character is a menace to society, and this A.B. will be refused a licence, and so on.
Another of these adventurers comes along and applies for a licence. His application, too, is not accepted. Possibly his character is not so shady as that of A.B., but still he has a character that the authority will not welcome very readily. Are we going to get that kind of information in the form of a report that will be submitted to the Oireachtas? Is there not a danger inherent in that procedure, apart altogether from the law of libel?
I should like to hear from those who have spoken in favour of the insertion of the new section what they mean by the sub-paragraph of the amendment and what details they would require under this suggested new section.
I think we are getting adrift again on this matter between two things. The position seems to me to be this: that, in so far as the authority is carrying out negotiations with individuals, it will be impossible for it to make a useful report to the public on its negotiations. On the other hand, if the authority is to report on accomplished fact, on undertakings that are already established or on undertakings that are very far on the road to being established, then it seems to me that such report is verging on the province of the Department of Industry and Commerce. I think the members on the other side of the House will have to accept the fact that these people in this authority are carrying out very delicate negotiations and that they will have to be trusted for the five years. If they do not do it in five years you may have to remove them, but you cannot check up on delicate negotiations. If you are checking up on established facts then that is moving into the sphere of the Department of Industry and Commerce.
This amendment is not necessary. I recognise the spirit in which this whole matter has been discussed and the desire that is universal in the House that nothing should be done to tamper with the authority. There are two sub-sections in the proposed new section—(1) the authority shall in each year make to the Minister a report of its proceedings under this Act and (2), the Minister shall lay before each House of the Oireachtas a copy of every report made to him by the authority under this section—the precise report received from the authority. Even if you put this in, I do not know quite what "proceedings of the authority" means. The proceedings of Parliament are simply a record of its decisions and of what it does—not a report of its debates. It is recognised that the authority has to make reports to the Minister but nobody in the House suggests that these reports made to the Minister should be anything but confidential. As a matter of fact everybody agreed that the sub-section in Section 4 which enjoins secrecy upon the members of the authority was a very sound one. Everyone agrees that we do not want a report which shows that the authority investigated a claim from Messrs. Kelly and Murphy and that they did not agree with it. If you do not want that type of report, I do not know what kind would be suitable except, perhaps a general or a statistical report—that, on their own initiative, they investigated 27 cases and that, at the request of the Minister, they investigated 22 cases: that, as a result of their investigations, they recommended to the Minister that an industry be started in, say, 18 cases and that the Minister acted upon their recommendation in 14 cases. That report would be composed of some kind of statistics and it would not really give very much information. What would really happen, I am afraid, if you had this section in the Act of the Oireachtas would be simply to get a colourless report from the authority to the Minister. That would be for the purpose of being laid before Parliament.
Senator Quirke said he required something for the public generally, but there is very little you can give the public that will give them any information. I am afraid that the public generally will not be interested. In particular places the public will be interested, as we all know. In Galway they would be interested in the hat factory. Quite publicly, a statement was made last week that the quota was changed for the bringing in of ladies' foreign-made hats. That was done after investigation in the Galway hat factory and a recommendation made by the authority. What really, I think, concerns people is that they should have an opportunity to discuss the work of the authority. It is in a sub-head in the Estimate for the Dáil. Therefore the Dáil will have an opportunity and the Minister will probably make a statement every year. In fact, that Estimate will appear before us also in the Appropriation Bill. There will be an opportunity here, if we care to do it, every year to discuss the matter in general. As well as the Minister's annual responsibility to account for his work in this matter on his own Estimate, there is also the fact that sub-section (2) of Section 2 states:—"The authority in the exercise of its powers and functions shall be responsible to the Minister." That makes the Minister responsible for the authority. I am pretty well certain that, from the point of view of the Dáil, it means that the Minister may be asked questions. We all know the kind of questions he will be asked. Deputies who are interested in particular places will put questions to the Minister. Therefore there will be a good deal of publicity about their work once the body gets under way. I am sure Deputies will exercise a certain restraint in the matter, as has been done here this evening. However, there will be a continuing possibility of the asking of questions: there will be an annual opportunity for discussion in the Dáil and for discussion in this House. As the Minister says, we have plenty of ingenuity if we want to get a particular thing discussed.
The amendment, if adopted, would not be practicable. I do not know myself how I could frame a practical amendment from the point of view of making a report. But, without any such provision in the Act, the authority is not working in the dark. It can have the light of Parliament turned upon it both in the Dáil and in the Seanad. In view of that set of facts which we all know, the amendment is not practicable. It would not really accomplish the purpose which some people want it for. There is general agreement that you do not want particular reports so that the House can discuss or the public be acquainted with the affairs of a particular company or a particular body of people. The amendment seems unnecessary.
Under Section 8, sub-section (3), we read:—
"The accounts shall be submitted annually by the authority to the Comptroller and Auditor-General for audit at such time as the Minister, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, shall direct and the said accounts, when so audited, shall, together with the report of the Comptroller and Auditor-General thereon, be presented to the Minister, who shall cause copies thereof to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas."
Can that come before the Committee of Public Accounts; and, if so, how can the Committee deal with the matter if they have nothing but figures? There is no reference to work or to what was done with the money— just figures. I do not know how the Committee of Public Accounts can function at all in respect of the authority.
The Committee of Public Accounts has no function with regard to policy. It is merely concerned to see that the money was spent in accordance with the Act of Parliament. They can call the officer of the authority, if necessary, if questions are raised by the Comptroller and Auditor-General on the accounts. They cannot, of course, ask him why he did not do a particular thing—any more than they can ask the head of the Department at present. It is purely a matter of the legal spending of the money.
They do not know how the money will be spent.
They cannot ask these questions without having some knowledge of the administration of the work or without a report. The Comptroller and Auditor-General calls attention to irregularities, but, in the administration of the particular Act, he cannot ask questions.
They will be in the same position in regard to this authority as they are in regard to every Department.
I would like the Minister to give some explanation of why in the Bill, James Patrick Beddy is described as member and chairman and then the names of three other persons follow. Ordinarily in such cases the name of the chairman is given first and then the other names are given in alphabetical order. It seems to me, therefore, that there must be some distinction as to the functions between Kevin C. McCourt and Luke J. Duffy. I do not know if the intention is that the second person named should act as vice-chairman. If that is not the intention and the three are ordinary members and are equal, then I think that should be made quite clear lest there should be any doubt as to the standing of the three men in the authority. It is of particular importance because of discussions that took place in the Dáil on the individual responsibilities of the members and their collective responsibilities. I do not want to go into all that again now but there was a very serious distinction drawn in regard to their individual responsibilities and collective responsibilities. If we are to avoid any confusion in the matter then I suggest to the Minister that their positions should be made quite clear.
I can assure the Senator that there is really no significance in the particular order in which they are down here. There are four members of the board and the chairman is named.
Before the Bill passes, I would like to say a few words. We hope that the powers which are given in this Bill will be used as they should be for the establishment and extension of industries in this country, but there is one matter which I would like to make clear in this regard. There has grown up in the country since the Industrial Development Authority has been established, or at least since its members have got their warrant of appointment, a belief that no industry can succeed or be established in this country unless it has the benediction of the Industrial Development Authority. That is not so, and I think it would be well that our people should realise that the position is at the moment not altered in any way by the passage of this Bill. Any group of Irishmen can come together and, if in their wisdom and with their knowledge and money, they decide to establish an industry either in the City of Dublin or the furthermost part of Connemara, they are entitled to proceed in their own way with the setting up of that industry without reference to the Industrial Development Authority. We have not gone as far as other countries in these matters, but I insist on the rights of Irishmen to establish industries as against the planning that seems to be an essential part of the policies of Governments all over the world to-day. We will be planned out of existence before we know where we are.
I hope not, but it is dangerous looking.
As long as I can I will oppose any Government effort to plan me even if Senator Baxter is a member of the Cabinet.
The point put by the Senator in his opening remarks is definitely correct.